If you’re an entrepreneur who is eager to burn the midnight oil with a new business venture, we’ve got a potential retail or online business idea for you: homemade candles.
When it comes to creating a product that’s practical and hot (literally and figuratively), learning how to make candles is a skillset that’s useful even for the hesitant DIYer.
So, if you’re curious about homemade candles, the varieties like soy candles, and how to make candles, then let’s take a deeper dive into this hot product.
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Why Homemade Candles?
Who doesn’t love candles? Homemade candles have become an essential home decor item — an industry that’s expected to generate $664 billion by 2020, according to a recent report from Allied Market Research.
In addition to candles growing as a primary category in the home decor industry, consumers have a growing interest in trends like aromatherapy and enhancing their houses with home scents. Candles (homemade or otherwise) have provided an affordable way for shoppers to procure this hot decor item and buy into the lifestyle that different candle variations project.
And that growing interest in candles is quantifiable. Taking a quick spin on Google Trends shows us that searches are steady for homemade candles:
And while candles may be used for various purposes across the globe, most of the searches for homemade candles are concentrated around North America and Western Europe. This is great intel for candlemakers looking to find a market for their DIY products:
Next, Google Trends demonstrates plenty of interest in specific types of candles — from scented to soy and everything in between. Shoppers’ interest in candles is not only strong, but runs the gamut. So, when an eager entrepreneur is making decisions about what kind of products to create, this knowledge is a powerful insight to help you build a collection that resonates with potential customers.
In addition to the popularity of this hot product, candles are offer wannabe business owners a number of other benefits, including:
- Candles cost little to make. Granted, some homemade candle varieties require pricier materials than others, but in general, candlemakers can create their wares with very little cash up front.
- Candles are hot products when selling in person. Want to sell your home decor items at craft fairs and local markets? Homemade candles travel well, so you can sell them both online and offline.
- Even novice crafters can create homemade candles. Whether you’re a DIY master or a crafting newbie, the base recipe for basic candles is easy to follow. As you’ll notice from our handy infographic below, the formula is simple.
- Plenty of varieties makes candles easy to customize. With so many types of candles, it’s easy to personalize your products and differentiate yourself from direct competitors.
From the standpoint of a DIY business, learning how to make candles is a skill that can be transformed into a viable income stream. But before we tackle the topic of creating homemade candles of your own, let’s take a look at the popular types that are piquing shoppers’ interest.
Types of Homemade Candles
One of the big advantages when learning how to make candles for your business is the variety — there’s likely a type of candle out there that will catch the eye of potential customers.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the top types of homemade candles you can explore when building your plan for your homemade candle biz.
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As one of the hottest candle varieties on the market today, soy candles are made from a base of soy wax. This wax is derived from soybeans, and therefore, is made from vegetables grown right from the earth (opposed to regular oil or paraffin varieties).
Not only are soy candles made from a renewable resource, they also burn cleanly and for longer. That way, customers get more bang for their bucks when it comes to getting a longer-lasting candle.
This is one of the most common varieties of candles. Scented or aromatherapy candles offer a spectrum of scents for customers looking to spruce up their homes with pleasant smells. Whether they’re meant to mask a normal household stench or simply create a unique scentscape, scent candles come in dozens of flavors —so there’s a smell that will appeal to almost everyone.
Whereas aromatherapy candles makers market their products as offering specific benefits that correlate to certain scents. Generally, these candles use essential oils in their recipe that are meant to enhance physical or mental well-being. For example, lavender scents are often associated with relaxation.
There’s a growing segment of shoppers that are concerned with the materials businesses use to make their products — particularly any animal ingredients. Basic candles often contain animal by products like beeswax, which isn’t desirable for some consumers.
But here comes vegan candles to the rescue! Vegan candles use modified formulas using ingredients like soy wax, plant-based waxes, essential oils, and natural fragrances.
When entering a homeware store, you’ve likely noticed candles that come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Some candles are made purely for decorative purposes — they aren’t necessarily scented and aren’t made from special ingredients. They simply add a certain something to a space in your home.
Decorative candles are often come in complicated shapes, feature accessories, and employ complicated designs.
How to Make Candles
As we’ve demonstrated, there are plenty of candle types that you can create in your own kitchen. Here, we’ll show you how to make a basic soy candle. You can take the same basic ingredients, tweak them slightly, and create your own customized recipe.
Gather Your Ingredients
For this homemade soy candle recipe, you’ll need:
- Soy wax
- Wicks (preferably cotton)
- Super glue
- Essential oil of your choice
- Double boiler
- Mason jar
While you likely have some of these items sitting around your house, you can easily procure the rest without busting your budget. You can find soy wax in bulk on sites like AliExpress or Wholesale Apothecary for around $4 per pound.
Merchants looking to source jars or other glass containers can look on AliExpress for a variety of bulk-buying options, or check their local thrift store or dollar store for inexpensive options.
Some of your jar and glass container options include:
Image Credit: AliExpress
Image Credit: AliExpress
Image Credit: AliExpress
Prep Your Wax and Container
Now, let’s prep your materials to get your candle wax ready. Take your soy wax and put it into your double boiler on your kitchen stove to melt. Fill the bottom pot with water and the top with the soy wax and turn burner onto medium heat. Stir the wax with your spatula, making sure you break up any chunks.
While the wax is melting, take your wick and glue the end to the bottom of your glass container. Allow glue to dry, which will keep your wick in place as your pour your wax.
Customize Your Candle Mixture
Once your wax melts, take your preferred essential oil and stir into your mixture at a ratio of 1 oz per pound of wax. If you’d like to change up the color of your candle wax, stir in chunks of non-toxic crayons.
Once your ingredients are melted and mixed, let it cool to 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the mixture with your thermometer to ensure it reaches the correct temperature.
Prep Your Pour
Now that your wax mixture is cooled to the correct temperature, it’s time to pour it into your jar. Hold the wick upright with one hand and pour the mixture out of the pan with the other. Fill up ¾ of the jar with the hot wax mixture.
To keep the wick upright, tie its end to the pen and set it across the opening of your jar.
Finishing Your Candle
Allow your wax to firm up before beginning your final pour. You make see a small sinkhole in the wax around the wick — don’t worry, that’s normal. Here’s where we correct this issue.
Take the remaining wax mixture and pour the remaining ¼ into the jar. Allow the rest of the wax to set completely. Once the wax is firm, snip off the excess wick with some scissors, and your candle is ready to burn!
How to Market Your Homemade Candle Business
Selling Your Homemade Candles Online
You’ve got the recipe for success — now it’s time to figure out how to sell your soy candles (or other homemade candles).
Like many business-to-consumer businesses, one of the most lucrative mediums to sell your products is online. You can use multiple digital platforms, like social media and your own ecommerce site, to reach potential customers around the world.
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While every digital medium won’t be a successful sales platform for every merchant, here are a few places entrepreneurs can try to help them get started.
Although the following list doesn’t cover every channel merchants can explore for their fledgeling business, these are some solid options to help you marketing your business online.
- Instagram: Many lifestyle brands how found great success building a sizeable following on Instagram. Curate a feed of beautiful images related to your brand, stage photos of you candles to show off to customers, and reach a larger audience. You can also use Instagram to reach out to brand evangelists and provide a behind-the-scenes peek at how you make your candles.
- Pinterest: Home décor is a major category for Pinterest users, and is one of the largests platforms customers use to find brands and products. So, it’s wise for homemade candle merchants to consider Pinterest as a pillar in their marketing strategy.
- Snapchat: As another highly visual platform, Snapchat is another viable option for maker merchants. As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with more than 200 million users, DIY hustlers can use the medium to market to an increasing audience.
- Giveaways and Contests: As part of a social/content marketing strategy, you can use some of your merchandise as prizes in a series of giveaways and contests. Not only can these contests help you gain followers and build brand awareness, but you also have the opportunity to show off how well your products work.
- Email Marketing: Deliver your message (as well as promos, discounts, and other brand news) right to your customers’ inboxes.
Selling Your Homemade Candles Offline
Although selling online is a viable avenue for merchants, don’t be afraid to try selling IRL.
Homemade candles are compact and travel well — which makes them ideal for selling on the go. Your sweet-smelling home decor items are ideal for displaying in market booths and pop-up shops and gives merchants the opportunity to get in-person feedback directly from potential customers.
Still not sold on selling in person? Going IRL for sales has a number of other benefits, including:
- Getting direct feedback: If you’re eager to improve your products (or just dying to hear what customers think), selling in person is a great way to do it. Meet your target customers face-to-face, address their pain points, and get ideas for potential new products.
- Discover wholesale opportunities: Ready to scale your business? Or looking to explore selling B2B? Markets and fairs are ideal events to meet wholesale buyers and establish a foundation for such a relationship.
- Build your online following and email subscribers: Whether you’re aiming to grow your social audience or build your enewsletter list, use pop-up shops and markets to connect online. When visitors show up at your booth or shop, ask them to subscribe to your email list or follow your branded social channels for new products, discounts, and giveaways.
- Networking and inspiration: Connecting with fellow makers and entrepreneurs is also a major part of the draw for festivals, markets, and fairs. Meeting other merchants can inspire you with new ideas and help you come up with new solutions to shared problems.
Although physical sales require different skills than sitting at your desk, a little know-how and the right tools can make it simpler to make sales on the go. Use a mobile point-of-sale system like Shopify POS to help you set up your shop or booth at your next flea and farmer’s market, craft fair, and/or maker fair, and keep transactions quick and simple.
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If you’re keen to sell your products in person, check out our guide to nailing the in-person selling experience.
Ready to Start Your Own Homemade Candle Business?
You’ve gotten this far, which means you now have a great grasp on how to get started with your own homemade candle business.
With the aforementioned tools and knowledge to help you make and sell your homemade candles, you can move forward to create your own income stream using your DIY skills.
Have any hot tips on how to make candles for novice DIYers? Share your tips and advice in the comments section below.
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